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How I feel about my Dad being in Iraq
 by Tamara, Daughter of MadSatyrist 

            Everyone has their reasons for going to war.  Young men and women go because they want
the GI bill benefits, because they want to do something for this great land they're so proud of.  Older 
servicemen and women go because they're told, because they have another 10, another 5, another 
18 months left before they get their 20 years in and get their cheap health insurance for life out of the deal. 

            And then there's people like my Dad over there.  He's a contractor.  No, he's not a contractor 
for Halliburton, he's an IT guy for an IT company, doing server admin stuff for a base somewhere in southern Iraq.

            My Dad is as green as it comes to wars.  He's had several careers, among them "farmhand" 
"Coal Miner" and most recently, "Computer dude."  He has a degree in computer dudeness and a few certifications..  

            The thing is that when you're my Dad's age, it can be hard to get a job.  It can be even more difficult
if you're a hermit who lives on the internet, such as my Dad.  Thanks to El Presidente's budget cuts in certain 
areas, Dad lost his job as a contractor for the Navy, and couldn't find another one.  His unemployment was 
fixing to run out, his house was going to get foreclosed on, and so he takes the last job that looked like they
were actually going to hire him.

            Dad left in the middle of March.  He spent a week at a camp in Georgia getting trained on how to 
wear his helmet and his Kevlar and whatnot.  He's had anthrax shots and malaria shots and god knows what 
else they immunized him against and he got sick, so he actually had to spend two weeks in GA.  They flew 
him to Kuwait, and wouldn't tell him where he would be stationed until he arrived in Kuwait.

            He's stationed, as I mentioned, in the southern part of Iraq.  .  I've called him three times, he's called 
me once.  There's a 7 hour time difference.  Right now it's 12:30 eastern time, and it's 7:30 in the morning in Iraq.  
We used to talk every day before he left.  We play video games together on the Internet (Knight Online formerly, 
currently World of Warcraft.) so before he left, if I didn't talk to him on the phone that day, I'd see him on the internet.

            At first, communications were very limited as he was just learning the ropes and most of his time was
spent keeping my Mom and my little sister sane.  Now things are a bit easier for me, because Dad got his own 
satellite internet, so we try to play games together on Sundays, which are his only day off.  He shares his 
connection with a bunch of other people (who help pay for it) and the company he goes through kicks him 
offline if they use too much bandwidth. 

            My Dad is more than half of my DNA.  It would break my heart if something were to happen to him.  
I have his sarcastic, biting sense of humor, his unfortunate mean streak, and his girlish figure. 

            I honestly didn't think he had the cojones to go to Iraq.  I told him he was on crack to apply, but I didn't 
really think it would happen.  In fact, I told my elder sister (there's three of us, 36, 27, 13, all girls) that I thought 
he wouldn't go through with it.

            He didn't have much choice.  It was go to Iraq or watch the bank sell his house.

            I bawled like a baby after he left.  I live in Indiana, he lives in TN, so I didn't get to see his plane off or anything. 

            He's been shot at, at least twice that I know of.  One time he watched a mortar come over the wall and 
he had to hide behind a blast wall.  If he'd left for work 3 or 4 minutes earlier, he'd be dead.  The other time 
something came over and they were going to hide him in a bunker.  I guess computer guys get the Cheney
treatment over there. 

            Ahh, Bart.  How do you describe what it's like to worry about one of your loved ones in the middle 
of one of the top 5 or 6 shittiest places in the world? 

            It's a constant feeling of dread.  I pick up the phone and dial his cell phone or his home phone and hang up 
about halfway through because I remember that he's not there for me to call.  I couldn't tell him what my grades
were for last semester, my Mom told him.  I didn't get to tell him how mad I was at my local superdelegate for 
endorsing the person he endorsed.  I didn't get to tell him that I got the internship I applied for.  I didn't get to 
share with him the joy of being elected President of my college's chapter of the College Democrats. 

No important event for me in the last two months has been shared directly with Dad first, the normal way of things.  
It might sound stupid to some people, but I've always been my Dad's favorite (and as much as he'll say he doesn't 
have a favorite, I know better) and he's obviously my favorite parent and it's just been the normal course of our 
relationship that I talk to him at least 3-4 times a week.  That's all changed.

            So I'm in a bit of a weird predicament.  GWB's cuts in certain defense spending (to funnel more money 
into the war) caused Dad to lose his job in TN.  GWB's crappy war needed more computer people in Iraq, 
which caused Dad ("fixing to go homeless" Dad) to HAVE to take this job.  The thing is, am I supposed to be 
happy or sad for him?  He's making more money over there than he could here.  But the thing I can't get away 
from is that he could die.  And then where would I be?

            The only other member of my family who is like me would be gone.  

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